Born On This Day — September 23, 1974

Joshua Oppenheimer - Filming

There was this debate between Mark Danner and Peter Sellars in Telluride, and Mark was totally pessimistic and Peter was optimistic. And I said, to make this film you have to be both. You have to be pessimistic because the point of art, for me, isn’t to comfort people and to reassure them. Otherwise I’d take a walk! Go do something better than sitting in a cinema. Go talk to someone you love. The point of art is to unsettle people. And therefore there has to be pessimism or you’re not, for me, making art. But why do I make this? How could I do this for seven years? Because somehow some other part of me is optimistic. It’ll do something. It’ll touch people. And it’ll make real change in Indonesia, and it’s already starting to, and that double movement between optimism and pessimism is the only way.

[M]aybe if you can look at our selfishness, we can teach people to be less selfish.

—Joshua Oppenheimer